Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Old Mikamba Had a Farm

Isadora, Rachel (Author/Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2013. 36 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780399257407 (hardcover)
9780698135116 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 782.42
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In this clever retelling of the popular children’s song, “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” Old Mikamba’s farm is set in the African Savannah. Pigs, horses and cows are replaced by giraffes, zebras and lions, and other well-known animals from the continent. Several less familiar creatures are also introduced, such as springboks, dassies and warthogs.

And on this farm, he has cheetahs that “Grrrr-grrrr here” and hippos that “Grunt-grunt there,” with “Everywhere a bellow-bellow” from the Rhinos. The chorus, “E-I-E-I-O,” follows each verse in the traditional manner. Readers will be tempted to imitate the distinct sounds as they sing along.

The illustrations make use of collage techniques: The spots of the giraffe are crafted out of traditional African textiles; the rhinoceros’ armour and the elephants’ skin are made from old newspaper clippings. A paint-textured African sun heats up almost every page. Thematic borders for each double-page spread suggest the mountains, rocks and waterholes of each animal’s habitat. Day and nighttime scenes of Mikamba’s village, with black-silhouetted animals, grace the endpapers.

The book concludes with statistics and facts about the featured animals.

  •  

    Look at teacher-selected images of African cities, villages and plains. Compare these images with the book cover and discuss what you think the setting of the book will be.

  •  Make predictions about the story based on the title, cover and endpapers.
  •  Try to guess what the next animal might be by peeking at the page borders before revealing the whole page.
  •  

    Read along with the story and act out the different animals.

  •  After reading, play charades, using the animals from the story as inspiration.
  •  

    Find Africa on a world map. Learn the new animal names such as warthog, springbok, dassie. Notice how some animals (zebras, elephants) have similar names in French and English. Practise their sounds.

  •  

    Choral read the story with the teacher. Join in even more on subsequent readings.

  •  

    Use teacher-provided pictures and words to match the illustrations and the word labels (with anchor chart support). As you do, listen to an online version of the story being read aloud.

  •  Use with an adapted version of the LES What Are These Animals?
  •  

    In Cycle 2, note the animal facts at the end of the book. What information do they contain? Choose another animal and create a fact card in the same style.

  •  

    Create a new version of the song with another setting (ocean, cave, etc.).

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology